Arrowtown’s Gold Rush Chinese Settlement – New Zealand

Just before Christmas while I was working in Queenstown, my friend and workmate Tom* and I took the opportunity to visit Arrowtown.  One of the places we visited was the Chinese Settlement.

The settlement has been partially reconstructed for easier interpretation and some of the small buildings you can go into – though I’m guessing no one would appreciate you using the toilet.

By 1874, the census recorded over 3000 Chinese settlers living in the Otago region.  They lived for the most part away from the European settlers and were often treated with racism and discrimination.  These men, for there were no Chinese women recorded living in the area, lived in communal huts and community life centered around a social hall.  Most of these men survived by picking over the area that the European gold miners abandoned, and most never made enough money to return home to China.

The New Zealand government formally apologised to the Chinese community for the treatment of these early Chinese immigrants in 2002.

This small area is a tribute to those early settlers.

* his actual name











If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to check out some of my other blog posts about New Zealand including the Arrowtown War Memorial and Cemetery.  The cemetery contains graves for some of the Chinese Settlers.



  1. As in so many mining towns, nothing went to waste. Yesterday’s newspapers were used to paper the wall to keep out drafts. Great to see.

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